A recent surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Portugal, triggered by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant, has prompted several countries across Europe to reconsider their pandemic response.
As per the reports, on June 1, Portugal confirmed as many as 26,848 new cases and 47 COVID related deaths, the highest single-day toll since February 17, when the country reported 51 deaths.
The report further stated that the pattern is in stark contrast to the pandemic scenario in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and neighbouring Spain, where case rates have been falling over the past two months.
The Portuguese health ministry noted that as many as 1,455 people had lost their lives due to the disease as the country is witnessing its sixth pandemic wave since April 2022.
According to the latest reports from the Ministry of Health and the Ricardo Jorge Institute, mortality from all causes is more than anticipated for this time of year. The reports also claimed that COVID-19 had caused an increase in specific mortality.
Henrique Oliveira, a mathematician with Lisbon University’s pandemic monitoring working group, warned that hospitalizations in wards and intensive care units (ICUs) will stay high in Portugal until June.
In the seven days leading up to June 2, Portugal registered 2,888 new cases per million, while its neighbouring Spain recorded 373 new cases per million.
Although most restrictions have been repealed in Spain, masks are still required on public transportation and in hospitals, health centres, pharmacies, and care homes. Notably, in November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorized the Omicron as the “Variant of Concern” because of its complicated genetic sequence.